Conferences & Exhibitions

What happens in Vegas …

Photo: Fraser May, CCNZ, finds out that ‘small’ isn’t an option when it comes to food servings

CCNZ Communications and Advocacy Manager Fraser May reports from the ConExpo in Nevada, held every three years at the Las Vegas Convention Center; a show that takes up 64 acres of exhibition space and over 1800 construction exhibitors.

I bumped into lots of Kiwi contractors, including teams from Gisborne’s Currie Construction and Auckland’s CLL Group. Isaac Construction, Utilities Infrastructure NZ and many others were also in attendance at this very big show.

Global Survey Managing Director Ray Copeland showed me a Boston Dynamics robot dog kitted out with the latest Leica survey gear, and I also caught up with Bryce Swainson and Joel Carberry-Smith from Synergy – NZ’s friendly Topcon, Steelwrist and Faro suppliers.

James Magill and Andrew Gowers from CablePrice gave me insights into the new zero swing excavator soon to hit our shores at the Hitachi stand, and both Charles Fairbairn and I received a warm welcome from the team at the Teletrac Navman stand. 

The event’s Festival Grounds attracted tens of thousands of spectators who cheered on champion operators at the Caterpillar Global Excavator Competition, set up to showcase concept designs and prototypes. I also saw demonstrations of concept vehicles including autonomous electric wheel loaders with artificial intelligence, remote controlled 30-tonne excavators and hydrogen powered dump trucks, at sites staffed by experts to explain every working detail. 

Most stands provide a demonstration, and many offer a freebie (or free beer) to get you hooked, and I even watched a plasma cutter make your logo in stainless steel, while you waited.

Experiencing the town

Las Vegas is a unique city. It’s not uncommon to see people roaming the streets with a foot-tall margarita in their hands at 10am.

Food servings are extreme. Charles and I ordered a plate of nachos at the Flamingo Hotel, and when these immense plates showed up, we couldn’t quite believe it. The waiter said it was a ‘food challenge’. When we asked if anyone had ever finished a plate, his quick response was “no”!

Vegas is certainly an interesting place for the uninitiated – sleazy and entertaining with mind-boggling architecture. The paths and walkways lead through the interiors of casinos, while the streets are lined with massive fountains and gimmicky hotels, including a replica Eiffel Tower beer park or the Luxor Hotel in the form of a massive otherworldly pyramid.

There’s a great atmosphere at the ‘old strip’ at Fremont Street, which had eight live bands playing simultaneously along the roofed avenue for St Patrick’s Day. And there’s high-class fare if you feel like living the high life. Charles and I visited Wally’s wine bar on our final night to exchange notes, and it was an oasis of calm with an unbelievable wine selection.

A lot of delegates also finished the show with a helicopter or bus tour of the Grand Canyon.

Looking forward to 2026

CCNZ is looking forward to planning a national delegation of contractors to CONEXPO CON/AGG 2026 alongside the Contractor magazine team, with support from the US Commercial Service and event owners – the US Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

We’ll be discussing this idea with members leading up to the event, but if you’re interested in coming along with the association, touch base with us to let us know you’re keen at, and we’ll add you to our mailing list for updates.

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